Meatless Monday:Spinach, Peppers, and Cherry Tomatoes with Penne Rigate

When I first started writing these Meatless Monday posts I was not a vegetarian, but I wanted to begin to decrease the amount of meat that I was eating for various reasons.  I thought that it would make me overall healthier, it was kinder for the environment, and was obviously better for the animals. It was never my intent or my goal to become a fulltime vegetarian.  As the months wore on I did notice that I had significantly cut down on the amount of meat I was eating, and I realized that I did not need meat to make a delicious and filling meal. I started to seriously consider becoming vegetarian, especially as I became more and more aware of the realities of factory farming, and more involved with different animal rescue and advocacy organizations it became much harder to justify continuing to eat meat.

Thanksgiving was my last day as a meat eater.  While occasionally I crave a cheeseburger, I am happy with my decision and committed to it for the long haul.  So far I have found that I feel lighter and like I have more energy, which is great and something that I am definitely happy about.  Mostly, the thing that matters most to me is that this is a decision that stands up for animals.

I promise that I will not become someone who preaches vegetarianism or makes those who are not vegetarian feel guilty. This is my decision, and it was one that was right for me and where I am in my life. Animals and their fair treatment is a cause that I am passionate about. I totally understand that it is not the right choice for everyone, and that my passion for animals isn’t shared by everyone. It is up to everyone to decide what is right for them and what they believe to be most important.

One thing that I know I need to be careful about is continuing to get enough protein and vitamins. I know that sometimes I am guilty of falling back on a very basic pasta dinner when I am feeling stressed or pressed for time. I have been looking for recipes that are quick, easy, and flavorful now more than ever.

I haven’t made this recipe yet, but it is on my list of things to try. I would use whole grain pasta and maybe add a bean of some sort for protein.  I will probably make it this weekend, and will update you when I do. I also received a vegetarian Jewish cookbook for my Bat Mitzvah in September that I am excited to be cooking more from, and I look forward to sharing my favorite recipes from there with you as well.